Treatment process turns wastewater into drinking water

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton Roads Sanitation District opened the doors on its pilot-scale water treatment process.

The process takes wastewater from the treatment plant and further filters it down.

Photos: HRSD Wastewater Recycling

HRSD’s engineers said the final process removes any potential contaminants from the water and make it possible for human consumption; drinking water.

Ted Henifin, general manager of HRSD, took the first sip of the purified water outside of the pilot plant. Henifin said the Health Department tested and approved the water on Wednesday, just in time for the official launch.

He said the plan is to move to a bigger plant in Suffolk and produce roughly one million gallons of drinkable water a day for groundwater supply.

“We found that there is a huge need for the ground water replenishment in this region,” Henifin said. “So the people have been pulling water out Eastern Virginia a hundred years and it just doesn’t replenish naturally.”

Henefin said there’s another effect as well. Right now the treated water goes back to rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. If this project succeeds that will stop.

“By not doing that, we’re going to not put millions of pounds of phosphorus and nitrogen into the bay every year.”

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